615 F.3d 197 (3rd Cir. 2010), 09-2210, Reedy v. Evanson

Docket Nº:09-2210.
Citation:615 F.3d 197
Opinion Judge:JORDAN, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Sara R. REEDY, Appellant v. Frank S. EVANSON, individually and in his official capacity as a Police Officer of the Township of Cranberry; Steve Mannell, individually and his official capacity as the Public Safety Director of the Township of Cranberry; Kevin Meyer, individually and in his official capacity as a Police Officer of the Township of Cran
Attorney:David V. Weicht [Argued], Leech, Tishman, Fuscaldo & Lampl, Pittsburgh, PA, for Appellant. Charles W. Craven [Argued], Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, Philadelphia, PA, Scott G. Dunlop, Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, Pittsburgh, PA, for Appellees. Terry L. Fromson, Wo...
Judge Panel:Before: BARRY, JORDAN and VAN ANTWERPEN, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 02, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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615 F.3d 197 (3rd Cir. 2010)

Sara R. REEDY, Appellant

v.

Frank S. EVANSON, individually and in his official capacity as a Police Officer of the Township of Cranberry; Steve Mannell, individually and his official capacity as the Public Safety Director of the Township of Cranberry; Kevin Meyer, individually and in his official capacity as a Police Officer of the Township of Cranberry.

No. 09-2210.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

August 2, 2010

Argued March 11, 2010.

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David V. Weicht [Argued], Leech, Tishman, Fuscaldo & Lampl, Pittsburgh, PA, for Appellant.

Charles W. Craven [Argued], Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, Philadelphia, PA, Scott G. Dunlop, Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, Pittsburgh, PA, for Appellees.

Terry L. Fromson, Women's Law Project, Philadelphia, PA, for Non Party Amicus Appellant.

Before: BARRY, JORDAN and VAN ANTWERPEN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

JORDAN, Circuit Judge.

While working as a cashier at a convenience store, nineteen-year-old Sara R. Reedy was sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint by a serial sex offender. She reported the crime to the police within minutes, subjected herself to a rape kit examination, and gave detailed and consistent statements to law enforcement officers and hospital staff. However, Detective Frank Evanson of the Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania Police Department, the lead investigator assigned to Reedy's case, believed that Reedy had fabricated the incident to cover up her own theft of cash from the convenience store. Approximately three months later, Evanson also became the lead investigator on another sexual attack that was substantially similar to the assault on Reedy and that Evanson knew was suspected to be the work of a serial rapist. Six months after the assault on Reedy, Evanson filed a criminal complaint against her, charging her with falsely reporting a crime, theft, and receipt of stolen property. Reedy spent five days in jail. The charges against her were dropped only when the serial rapist was captured and confessed to assaulting her, to committing the theft, and to committing the other sexual assault investigated by Evanson. Reedy later commenced this suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Evanson and another Cranberry Township Police Officer, Kevin Meyer, and the Township's Public Safety Director, Steve Mannell. She asserted claims of unlawful seizure and unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment, and accompanying state law claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, abuse of process, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The District Court granted summary judgment to the defendants on all of Reedy's claims, and this appeal followed. For the reasons described below, we will vacate in part, reverse in part, and affirm in part, and will remand the case for further proceedings.

I. Background

A. The Assault

Because it is necessary to demonstrate the similarities between the assault on

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Reedy and the other sexual assault that Evanson was investigating, a graphic description of events is, unfortunately, required.

On July 14, 2004, Reedy was working alone as a cashier at the JG Gulf Station (the " store" or " Gulf Station" ) in Cranberry Township, located in Butler County, Pennsylvania. At approximately 10:40 p.m., a man later identified as Wilbur Brown entered the Gulf Station. He walked toward the counter where Reedy was standing, lifted his shirt, pulled out a gun, and ordered Reedy to sit on the floor behind the counter while he opened the store's cash register by pushing the " no sale" key. Although the store was equipped with a panic alarm button, Reedy did not press it. After Brown removed the money from the register, he ordered Reedy to take off her shirt, which she did. He faced her, stared out the store's window, unzipped his pants, and exposed himself. He then began to sexually assault Reedy, fondling her breasts and forcing her to perform oral sex on him. While she was doing so, he yelled, " Suck my dick and don't bite it or I'll shoot you." (App. at 350.) He also told Reedy to insert her finger into his anus, which she did. Brown then ejaculated in Reedy's mouth and threatened to harm her if she did not swallow all of his semen.

After the assault, Brown ordered Reedy to go to the back of the store, where there was an office that held the Gulf Station's safe. When Brown noticed that the store's safe was partially open, he asked Reedy if there was any money inside, to which she responded that there was. Brown or Reedy 1 then removed two envelopes of money from the safe. Brown next ordered Reedy to disable the telephone, which she did by pulling the lines from the wall. Finally, he ordered Reedy to remain in the back office for a few minutes while he left. He then fled through the front door of the store. After waiting for a short while, Reedy exited through the back door of the store and ran to a neighboring service station for help. One of the employees there called the police to report the robbery and sexual assault.

B. The Initial Investigation

Officers from the Cranberry Township Police Force arrived at the scene within minutes, and Reedy's boyfriend, Mark Watt, whom she had called, arrived shortly thereafter. Reedy provided one of the police officers, Charles Mascellino, a detailed description of the assault. She also described her assailant as a white male, approximately 5'6" to 5'7", wearing a blue baseball cap, blue jeans, and blue boxer shorts, and appearing in his mid-30s to early 40s. 2 Reedy was unsure of which direction her assailant went when he left the store, and she could not provide a description of any vehicle he might have used. Reedy was " crying, shaking, talking

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real loud," and " hysterical" during the interview. (App. at 252 p. 20.) One of the officers offered Reedy the services of a sexual assault counselor but she refused, stating that she had been sexually abused as a child and knew how to handle the situation. The officers searched the wooded area behind the Gulf Station but could not locate Reedy's assailant. An alert for the suspect was broadcast around the local area. Four fingerprint specimens were taken at the Gulf Station but none of them yielded any useful forensic findings.

C. The Hospital

Mascellino took Reedy and Watt to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Cranberry Township, where Reedy underwent a rape kit examination and where she first met Detective Evanson. Evanson was the lead detective assigned to investigate the incident. He had been a police detective for Cranberry Township since 1986 and, by the time of these events, had investigated more than ten rapes in his career. On the night of the incident, Evanson traveled to the hospital, where he introduced himself to Reedy and asked her what happened. She provided an account of the assault that matched in detail what she had told Mascellino. Reedy later said that, after hearing her description of the attack, Evanson asked her how many times she did " dope" each day. (App. at 396.) He then called her a liar and repeatedly accused her of stealing the money from the store. He asked Reedy where she had put the stolen money, to which she responded that she did not know where the money was. When Reedy began to cry under this hostile questioning, Evanson told her not to bother, " because [your] tears aren't going to save [you] now." 3 (App. at 398.)

After speaking with Evanson, Reedy provided another full and consistent description of the assault to Mary Beth Farah,4 the nurse who was treating her and who administered the rape kit. According to Farah's notes from the conversation, Reedy told her that none of the assailant's semen had gotten onto her face and that, during the few minutes she was forced to wait in the back room while her assailant escaped, she gargled with water twice and washed her hands with soap. She also told Farah that Evanson had called her a liar. In sum, by the time the night of the assault was over, Reedy had provided separate, detailed, and consistent accounts of the incident to Mascellino, Farah, and Evanson, and had been accused by Evanson of being a liar and a thief.

During their confrontational conversation at the hospital, Evanson took note of Reedy's physical appearance. He said that her eyes looked dilated and that her speech was slow. According to Evanson, he asked Reedy if she had " consumed prescribed or unprescribed narcotics," to which she responded she had not. (App. at 351.) Shortly thereafter, Evanson learned that Reedy's urine samples had tested positive for marijuana. He asked Reedy if she had used marijuana recently, and she answered that she had smoked it five or six days ago but had not consumed any other medication. According to Evanson, " [t]hat information led [him] to question [Reedy's] credibility and to ask the hospital to test for drug usage ... blood samples that had been taken [from Reedy] ... as part of the ‘ rape kit’ ...." (Appellees' Answering Br. at 7.) Thus, without

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speaking to Reedy, Evanson directed the hospital to perform additional toxicology testing on Reedy's blood samples.

Eight days later, on July 23, 2004, Evanson obtained and executed a search warrant for Reedy's medical records. The records included the results of the additional toxicology screening that Evanson had ordered, which revealed that Reedy had ingested diazepam, better known as Valium, and confirmed that Reedy had used marijuana. When Evanson later asked Reedy about the diazepam, during a visit he made to her home a couple of weeks later, 5 Reedy explained that Watt, who had a legal prescription for the...

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